By Tony Leighton
A goal on his Leicester City debut, in Tuesday evening's 4-0 Capital One Cup win at Torquay United, saw striker Jamie Vardy continue his incredible rise to fame after giving up football on being released by his first club Sheffield Wednesday.
"When someone tells you you're not going to play because you're too small," Leicester's £1million, 5ft 10in signing from Fleetwood Town told football-league.co.uk, "you just feel like packing it in - and that's what I did.
"I thought my chance had gone and I stopped playing football altogether, but luckily I got back into it. I went to college and one of my mates, who had also been released by Sheffield Wednesday, was playing for the college team and got me involved.
"I've managed to work my way back up from there. I was picked up from the college team by Stocksbridge and moved from there to Halifax and then on to Fleetwood, and luckily the goals kept coming and I ended up here at Leicester."
When Vardy says, "luckily the goals kept coming," he is perhaps being too modest - the 25 year-old striker scored 66 times in 107 appearances for Stocksbridge and 29 times in 41 Halifax outings before moving to Fleetwood 12 months ago.
Having proved his scoring ability at Blue Square North level with Halifax, he did even better with Fleetwood, hitting 34 goals in 40 games last term as the Cod Army won the division to reach The Football League for the first time in the club's history.
As the season progressed, and Vardy continued to bulge opposition nets, speculation was mounting as to when - and to whom - he would move once Fleetwood's promotion was confirmed and the close season transfer window opened.
There was keen interest from a number of clubs in signing him, but Vardy chose npower Championship outfit Leicester and believes he has made the right move to eventually take himself - along with the Foxes - into the Premier League.
"As soon as I came to Leicester and talked to the gaffer (Nigel Pearson) and saw the top-notch facilities that are here," he said, "I felt it was a club with a real Premier League feel to it and that's where we want to be come next season.
"We've definitely got the squad to push hard for promotion. I know it's going to be a tough campaign because there are a lot of good teams in the Championship - but we're one of those teams, and I'm sure that at the end of the season we'll be up there."
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